Vietnam is made for touring, as by travelling overland you get to see the breadth of attractions and scenery this beautiful country has to offer, especially as you get a bit off the beaten track into the countryside with your private guide and driver.
Join your private guide and driver as you explore Saigon, Vietnam’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan city, the Mekong Delta's spider web of waterways, Cat Tien National Park's natural splendour and the hill country around Dalat, before finishing off on the golden sands of Mui Ne or Nha Trang.
Day 1: Depart on your choice of overnight flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Day 2: Arrive Saigon for 4 nights, private transfer to your choice of hotel
Day 3: Afternoon Saigon City tour, visiting the many highlights of this exciting city
Day 4: Morning tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels from the Vietnam War
Day 5: Mekong Delta day tour including boat ride through the spider web of waterways
Day 6: Drive to Cat Tien National Park (2 nights). Private guide - evening wildlife tour
Day 7: Cat Tien NP - Morning wildlife boat tour to Tien Island & hike to Crocodile Lake
Day 8: Continue on through the countryside for 2 nights in Dalat, a former hill-station
Day 9: Full day private tour of town and countryside with optional horse ride
Day 10: Private transfer to Mui Ne or Nha Trang for 5 nights on a beautiful beach
Days 11-14: 4 days to relax on beach, enjoy wide range of watersports & visit sahara like dunes
Day 15: Check out in time for your transfer and flight home
Day 16: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Saigon.
Day 2: Arrive Saigon
On arrival you will be met by your private guide and transferred to your choice of hotel for 4 nights in sensational Saigon. The rest of the day is yours to relax, stretch your legs or perhaps have a post flight massage. Tonight you may just feel like eating in the hotel, but if you would like to venture out and about your guide will be happy to recommend a local restaurant and book a table.
Day 3: Saigon (B) - City Tour
Morning free then afternoon Saigon City tour. Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city; it’s a fast-paced metropolis full of contrasts, with street vendors selling fruit and vegetables next to glitzy modern boutiques. Amazingly the city’s history dates back only 300 years. In 1859 it was captured by the French and became the capital of Cochin China. From 1956 until April 1975 it was the capital of the Republic of Vietnam.
Today it's very much at the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurial activity. City centre highlights include the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office & Opera House, as well as the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum.
Move out of the city centre and you get a sense of how the city used to be, as you discover the ancient canals. This area is home to many Saigonese whose livelihoods still depend on the Saigon River and in the midst of this vibrant megacity you’ll be surprised to see river banks lined with houses on stilts. Cruise the Saigon River by speedboat as the sun sets on this fascinating city. Back at the hotel around 6pm.
Day 4: Saigon (B) - Cu Chi Tunnels Tour
Early departure to escape city traffic and get ahead of the crowds on a half day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels, the legendary remnants of the Vietnam War that offer an evocative insight into the horrors that were faced by those involved. During the guided tour it’s possible to descend into the layers of tunnels that although widened, still create a feeling of creeping claustrophobia.
Few other places encapsulate the sheer will-power that the American military was up against, and the lengths that the Viet Cong were prepared to go to in order to evict them. Back in the hotel in time for lunch and afternoon free to explore further.
Extra: If you would like us to arrange something extra today perhaps you could consider the following. Half day cooking course offering a light hearted introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnam has a burgeoning art scene, tour the Fine Arts Museum and some of the leading galleries with a local expert. Lacquer work may not spring to mind when you think of Vietnam, but a tour of a laquer works is an eye opener, a long way from the dark examples we see here. We’d be happy to discuss these and other options when you call.
Day 5: Saigon - Mekong Delta Tour with boat ride(B / L)
This morning you’ll be collected from the hotel lobby and driven south to the Mekong Delta where you board a boat to explore a less-visited area of the Mekong, home to luxuriant vegetation and lush coconut islands, as well as orchards and rice paddies. Visit a local coconut processing enterprise where this vital fruit is treated in the age-old way to separate oil, flesh and husk to be used in oil, matting and candy.
After the boat ride you will be taken on a short walk to a small village to see mat weavers at work, before jumping on the delta’s version of a tuk tuk to travel down the country roads to the pier. Here you board Le Jarai, a beautiful teak boat and continue your cruise along the river. Whilst on board join in a demonstration of Vietnamese cooking before sitting down to a sumptuous three-course lunch of Mekong specialities. After lunch relax on the top deck and watch river life pass you by. Cruise back to Ben Tre where you’re transferred back to Saigon by early evening.
Day 6: Saigon overland to Cat Tien National Park (B / L / D)
Enjoy breakfast, then you’re off to Cat Tien National Park (3.5 hours), arguably the best place to spot wildlife in Vietnam. On arrival check in to your choice of accommodation for 2 nights. Enjoy lunch then in the afternoon hike through the park and discover the diversity of Nam Cat Tien's botanical wildlife. The walk takes approximately 2 hours and covers a distance of around 6 km.
After dinner, board a jeep for wildlife spotting by night. The number of animals seen can vary depending on season and habits, but as you’re travelling in the dry season more should be seen.
Day 7: Can Tien National Park (B / L / D)
Rise early to the sounds of the forest and take a short speed-boat to Tien Island to learn more about how endangered animals are being kept before being released back to their natural habitat. Visitors have the chance to talk with an expert to understand more about their work protecting the animals.
After lunch take a short drive into the forest and hike for another hour to Crocodile Lake. The forest trail ends at the edge of a large lake, with a water hyacinth lined shore in which rare Siamese Crocodiles may be spotted, only the eyes and snout protruding. Return to the lodge late afternoon.
Extra….Alternatively if you’d like to explore by mountain bike this can be arranged
Day 8: Cat Tien (B) to Dalat overland
After breakfast there’s the option to take a final hour’s walk before departing for Dalat, about a 3.5 hour drive away. On the way you'll make a short detour through the hills to walk to the Elephant Falls down a quiet trail. On arrival in Dalat check-in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. Evening free to explore the town.
Day 9: Dalat - Town & Countryside Tour with optional horse ride (B / L)
Dalat was established by the French in 1897 as a hill station to escape the heat of Saigon in summer. By the early 20th century the town had grown with boarding schools, military colleges, resorts and private villas all built in the French style and few of which remain today.
Visit the summer palace of Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai, an art deco villa that was constructed in 1933. At the time it was considered quite luxurious but with the wisdom of time it now looks like a 1950’s movie set. Continue to the botanical gardens and see a vast array of flowers and plants, sculpted into shapes and animals. Take a cable car ride over the gardens for a birds-eye view.
From here head to Truc Lam Zen Monastery for an insight into life as a monk and to see the daily rhythms of temple life. This is a unique form of Zen founded during the Tran dynasty where practitioners develop self-reliance and realisation through meditation. The scenery around the temple is quite breath-taking. Then transfer to Tuyen Lam Lake and Love Valley which you will explore for an hour on horseback (optional as can walk instead). Later in the afternoon drive to Pongour Waterfall the most beautiful in the south. The waterfall has many cascades falling from 30 metres to pools below.
Day 10: Dalat (B) to Mui Ne or Nha Trang (Beach Resorts)
This morning your guide and driver will take you to your choice of beach resort. Mui Ne and Nha Trang are about 3 hours away. Both boast sandy beaches that are lapped by azure seas, striking the right balance to create a relaxed atmosphere but with plenty of activities and restaurants to keep the visitor happy. On arrival check-in to your choice of beach side hotel for 5 nights.
Days 11-14: Mui Ne / Nha Trang (B) - Beach Days
Four days to relax on the beach. Mui Ne is more laid back and there are a choice of activities that include scuba diving & snorkeling tours to nearby islands, kite surfing, wind surfing and surfing on the nearby beaches. A trip the Sahara like dunes that lie north of the town is also popular. In the evening there is a great selection of bars and restaurants that will suit every mood and pocket. Nha Trang too can offer scuba diving and island excursions, and is a bit more of a lively resort town once night falls. However if you like to escape, just a short distance away from the town you'll find a superb choice of first class and deluxe hideaway hotels.
Day 15: Mui Ne / Nha Trang (B) - Fly Saigon / UK Airport
If you're staying in Mui Ne you will be transferred back to Saigon airport in time for your overnight flight home. The transfer will be about 4.5 hours and so if you would prefer it we can add an extra night in the city. If staying in Nha Trang you will fly to Saigon and connect here home. Arrive back in UK the following morning.
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas (if applicable)
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
A mix of grand colonial buildings and modern luxuries make Saigon a fantastic place to stay
Hotels in Dalat
This former hill-station town, high in the hills, is surrounded by beautiful countryside to explore
Hotels in Mui Ne
South Vietnam's most established beach resort - great beaches, restaurants, bars and watersports
Hotels in Nha Trang
The perfect beach destination if you'd like to either mix great beaches with a more lively nightlife or seek out a luxury hideaway resort on its own bay